What is All the “Beef” With Red Meat?

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What is All the “Beef” With Red Meat?

Art Credits to Maggie Hsu!

Art Credits to Maggie Hsu!

Art Credits to Maggie Hsu!

Art Credits to Maggie Hsu!

Yuying Wang ‘23

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In many of the diets that we know of in our society today, red meat has always been one of the main categories that bears a big red “X” on it. Based off of previously “outdated” studies, researchers have claimed that red meat brings negative consequences upon our health. However newly proven research that was just released at the end of September has found no prominent correlation whatsoever between an individual’s health and the consumption of red meat. 

 

Up until these past realizations, scientists have associated the consumption of red meat with serious illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, certain types of cancers, and premature deaths. These “statistics” were falsely leading a relatively large portion of the population to avoid excess amounts of red meat in their daily meals. However, after years of accepting red meat’s dangerous implications, only recently has another study challenged these findings. Based on multiple systematic reviews, researchers have found minimal to no evidence on how red meat really damages our body. Although contradicting the guidelines of several other organizations, NutriRECS, “an independent group with clinical, nutritional and public health content expertise,” originally produced these findings,  causing the controversy within the nutritional science community. Their intention was to let people know that it’s okay to eat red meat on occasion, and is not something that should be totally cut out from our day’s food intake. 

 

Red meat provides nutrients, many of which a large part population is unaware. To start, red meat is a great source of protein and vitamins. These components serve to build a strong foundation in one’s body, and keep our systems working. 

 

On the other hand, experts who had backed up the emerging theory that red meat is a detriment to your diet still remain in a strong stance. They accuse NutriRECS of not examining the small chance of problems that the consumption of red meat could possibly lead to. Putting an extreme focus on the minor chances, and elaborating that it is only harmful when you fall into the outnumbered group is when they suffer the most. Specifically, the World Cancer Research Fund has found that approximately 18% of people who eat red meat frequently are more likely to develop cancer. Based off of this slight percentage, it further proves the point that the World Cancer Research Fund was trying to convey the dangers of red meat.

 

Although red meat has now been classified as INNOCENT, there are still a lot of studies that are to be re-evaluated. Most of all, many researchers are now worried that these contradictory articles will lead to an excess amount of red meat consumption. Although red meat is not linked with serious diseases, eating too much of anything is just a problem within itself. Experts recommend that an average person only eat approximately three servings of red meat throughout the course of an entire week. By monitoring the proportions of everything, it keeps your diet balanced, while allowing the nutrients to diffuse into your body. 

 

Now that red meat has been proven to not have detrimental effects on your overall health, the idea to start re-including red meat back into your meals should not be as frightening as it used to be. Therefore, red meat can now be taken down from the list of “foods to avoid,” and thought of as a choice to make. However, keep in mind that moderation is always the key. 

 

[1] https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20190930/controversial-studies-say-its-ok-to-eat-red-meat 

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-questions-answers.html

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/30/health/red-meat-low-quality-evidence-controversy-wellness/index.html

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